Miss You, Holyfield

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: #BecausePGH, Too Long For Twitter, Whining

I almost texted PG with good news on Thursday night, swept up in excitement at choosing our next family home.
Then I realized he’d never read it. No matter how many distractions there are, it still hurts so much and just doesn’t seem real that he’s gone.

I would need PG’s gift of words to express how deeply Chooch and I miss him, especially as we start this new adventure of a life in New Mexico. In our favorites, we strategized about where to put our gaming lair and felt a stab knowing he’d never join us in it. At least, not in this dimension.

Anyone reading this, please consider buying a copy of Murder at Avalon Hill, you can get it from Amazon.

You can also hear him read it in his very own voice, thanks to the good folks at Podiobooks.com.

P.G. Holyfield wrote it and he was my friend.
Give it as a gift to someone that enjoys a good fantasy mystery. I can still picture the river of magic he describes.
Or donate a copy to your local library.
Or treat yourself and enjoy his rich world just for yourself.

Give his words life again?
#BecausePGH #Always

Murder at Avedon Hill by P.G. Holyfield

Hair Donations, Finally!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: #BecausePGH, Chooch, Fibromyalgia, No Whining

After our hair donations yesterday, I tried to figure out how to write about it. I knew that to some, it would sound weird, no matter what, so after a lot of revisions, I’m simply writing it as a letter to our best friend, P.G. Holyfield. We lost him last August to a horrifyingly fast-growing and hidden cancer.  I’ve probably written it poorly and with bad punctuation or pronouns, but I don’t have time to take another pass.

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Chooch and I found it to be complete and total bullshit that you were diagnosed with cancer and were going to lose your gorgeous hair to chemo. The only form of rebellion against it was to join you in baldness. How better to show you that we all needed you to fight? That you were worthy of the love and respect that you ended up showered with by family, friends, coworkers, peers and fans.

So, surprise, P.G., we decided to shave our heads whenever you were ready to shave yours. We decided it even before you had your first chemo treatment and were due another one on Friday, our arrival date. And, as only he can, Chooch even thought up a way that was pretty cool to do it.

It was going to be easy, really, since we already had the plan for me to be your goofy, pig-tailed chemo buddy, so Kim could still work and none of us would worry over you by yourself at home. We’d simply planned for me to be disabled in Charlotte instead of Ashburn. At the very least, I would be with you and would know when your hair started to fall out and when we’d offer our solidarity.

As an aside, I delighted in the chance to be truly useful for the first time in five years. My inability to work meant I could give you companionship. You were still so strong that we just knew you wouldn’t need physical help, so it was fine that I couldn’t provide it. I’d just someone in the house, in case you suddenly didn’t feel well.

And while we thought it too soon for you to want to shave your gorgeous hair, we wanted to be ready for whenever it you chose to shave it. By us doing it too, we hoped to take the sadness and empower you with it. Clippers and a wig awaited us in my suitcase during those days as we altered our drive from Charlotte to Durham, to meet you where you were getting a second opinion.

I can’t even remember if it was Chooch or I who first brought up shaving our heads with you. But, as was so true with all four of us, the question was answered before it was asked. To hell with vanity, we needed you to know how much we wanted you to fight and that we were committed to your fight, too. Roomies for Life, and all that. And since you’d always complimented our hair and the length, and with yours getting long enough that you were becoming pleased with it, it was the obvious rallying point for us in the days approaching what ended up being our last drive to visit you and Kim.

We quickly decided not to bring it up, because, who the hell cared after the second opinion? Shaving it then would have just taken us time away from you and possibly upset you. And there were so many more important things to say and do for you and your family and friends.

I kept my hair in pigtails 5 or so days instead, at your side with wonderful people that love you so much. Thanks again for letting us be there with you and them. Peace would be much more difficult to find without knowing just how overwhelmingly smothered in love you were during your last days.

We decided to wait to shave our heads until after your memorial service, 2 months later. It just seemed not to have been cool to do. And those months packed a punch with serious grief processing over my Mom’s death years before, while two other of our family members were/had been battling cancer. Putting it off was fine, because it just meant our donations were growing longer.

The wig stayed in my suitcase through October. I liked having it close, back then. It was a tangible representation of what we would have done for you, all the while praying our plans might turn sadness into laughter.

The wig was a cartoon-y blue, because it’s Chooch’s favorite color and I thought it was yours, too. But I’d only need it if you let us shave it. You’d have had veto power, natch. I worried my bald and ginormous pumpkin head might be upsetting, so I quickly ordered it.

But now, winter hits hard enough to make my hands and other joints more and more miserable. Caring for my long thick hair became more and more problematic. Chooch and I were sure we still wanted cut our hair, but as a donation instead.

We started debating bald vs. short styles and ones that would give the most length to the charity we chose. I feared that shaving bald would just make me sad, as a constant reminder of your loss. Chooch was on the fence and considering shaving down to bald to honor you as we initially planned. He understood that I couldn’t go there because I already fear my reflection because of the resemblance to my Mom and I didn’t want a bald headed reminder of her during her cancer battles every time I looked in the mirror.

And truthfully, we didn’t think a hair cut was a big deal, especially since I’d already been plotting a cut similar to J.R. Blackwell’s after Balticon last year to ease the burden of styling my hair, which you agreed was brilliant. And, as Nutty mentioned, the first few years of Chooch and I going to Balticon were years we had short hair.

In our growing excitement, we shared our plans with various friends and family. They were not very well received and nearly every person seemed to advise against it. We decided to wait a little longer so that folks that love you or love us would know it wasn’t spontaneous or a crazed expression of grief. It’s just a hair donation and it’s done a lot. In fact, there was literally one being done by another stylist in the salon at the same time we were doing ours.

We’ve been looking forward to doing it for 6 or 7 months now, considered tons of hairstyles and off we went to our one and only stylist, Bree, at Rain in Ashburn, VA. It was nothing to donate my hair to the charity in your name, P.G., other than an honor.

You made the length of my hair so immediately meaningless, compared to all that you faced as well as how your loss cut so many so deeply. The shearing brought us much joy, and I think, to Bree as well, as we’ve been discussing a shorter cut for years. She really enjoyed that we insisted that only she could do the transformation for us, especially since she’d been hearing our tales before and after returning from our shenanigans.

So, as another winter storm bore down on us and with our grandson approximately 42 days away from arriving, we drove around three hours to keep our scheduled appointment. You know us and our love of road trips. And I decided that if our friends know us, they’ll trust us. The crazy lady time passed awhile ago. I am fine. Chooch is fine. We are fine.

Thank you for inspiring me to cut the hair that hurts too much to maintain, in spite of how many compliments I got or the threats I’d get when I’d talk about cutting it off. Jokingly, of course, but there was some pressure, too.

Lookit, our grandson, Codename: Little Bear, arrives soon and I’d rather snuggle with him instead of wrangling all that hair. Besides, it’s only a haircut, which is only one drop in an ocean of tiny kindnesses we all grant in this world. And I vowed to pay it forward every chance I’m able.

I will miss you, always. Know that this one remains grateful for the friendship that healed so many broken things in me.

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Pix to prove it happened. More to come when there’s time for styling, we were literally racing a snowstorm and this was a recovery day.

 

The Holyfield Knot by Tony Miller

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: #BecausePGH, Firsts, Friends, Rules of Etiquette, Too Long For Twitter

I’ve seen and heard some amazing kindnesses demonstrated in honor of Patrick (P.G.) Holyfield since his fight with cancer began and ended in August.

I’m hand-picking this one specific kindness from Tony Miller to share, because it’s loving, touching, thoughtful and dignified. It’s so Tony. It’s so Patrick G. Holyfield.

And it’s something anyone can do to pay tribute, too, if you ever feel the urge or miss him or another wonderful man on any given tie-appropriate occasion.

Now, for background, Tony is a wonderful guy, a member of my own little Con(vention) Family and someone I am always thrilled to see because of the fond memories and also because of the way P.G. introduced him for the first time, as a trusted friend. That carries a lot of weight with me, as P.G. knew.

If you are also a friend of Tony’s, you know that he has a new job –teaching! Tony, I’ve already sent my congratulations to you, but I don’t know if I told you that I hated you couldn’t be one of our kids’ teachers. Even with the harm you cause shrubbery, you are an amazing person that I think would be a wonderful person for future leaders to learn from. You never cease to amaze me by breaking down stereotypes of men in general, but in particular, men from the south, except for the one about them being chivalrous.

Lately, Tony shares a new treat with us — frequent (daily?) photos or a demonstration video of knot ties he has learned, as well as those he is crafting himself. It’s very spiffy and the knots he makes are almost as awesome as the expressions he makes*.  I love the series and hope he continues it. I have sons that need to know these things!

As a long-time friend of P.G.’s. He recently named a special tie-knot after him. One that Tony himself created and then demonstrated how to do-it-yourself, by posting a video on Youtube.

This week begins three public events (see below) being held in honor of our dear dear friend, author and immensely lovable example of human kindness, P.G. Holyfield. And knowing Tony Miller and P.G.’s friendship to be genuine and reciprocal and stretching over years, this is overwhelmingly poignant and touching for this gal**, but as my own showing of respect for this and so many other kindnesses, I am hoping to master this knot myself for at least one of these events, using a scarf or ribbon. please take time to learn and wear this creation of PG’s longtime friend, Tony Miller, anytime you choose.

I’m personally asking for those interested to share in this tribute by posting pix of themselves wearing it. Please tag P.G. and Tony, as I’m sure they will bring comfort to those that are and will always be, missing P.G. and continuing to check his social media pages because, what else can you do?

At a later date, if enough pictures are sent donning the knot, they will be posted to the Memorial Page that will be polished and shared with content soon.

You will need to submit photos to BTW@SpecFicMedia.com to be included in that or any other public honoring of him.

Love you, Tony <3

*Most people look staged in similar poses, but Tony’s look genuinely awkward or humble. Not fake or staged, even if they are.

**Literally overwhelming. It’s taken me days to write and hit ‘Publish’ on this post.

Information on the Tributes:

Wednesday, 10/8 at 9pm – Online Vid Tribute from The Beyond the Wall crew:

On Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 9pm Eastern, the Beyond the Wall crew will be recording a live podcast show in which we will bid farewell to our good friend, P.G. Holyfield.

There is also an in-person gathering and aMemorial Service occurring on Oct 11th and 12th, respectively.

If you would like to attend one or both of those events, please check the links on this post atSpecFicMedia.com.

Of course, we understand that not everyone will be able to attend in person.

For so many, these podcasts are how they knew him.

So, the show on Wednesday the 8th will be a way for us, and for you, to express your feelings about this man, who brought so many people together.

We on the crew will be sharing our feelings and memories, but, we would also like to hear from you. If you have words, audio or video that you would like to share, please email it to us at BTW@SpecFicMedia.com.

Even if you have already sent something, please re-send it if you would like it to appear on this show. If you would like to send something that is just for family or any other private audience, please indicate this in your email.

And of course, if you are reading this too late or are just unable to put your feelings together before we record, please send anyways.

Also, please help us boost the signal, both for this announcement and the show event links that will follow, so that everyone that would like to can participate.

P.G. Holyfield founded a great community at SpecFicMedia, but now his watch has ended.

Our watch continues and so we will carry on our sacred duty, which is to talk about things we love – and people that we love – with all of you.

Thank you, from your friends at SpecFicMedia.com.

Saturday: A Casual Gathering and A Celebration of Life in Honor of Patrick G. Holyfield

October 11th from 6 pm – 10 pm – Come and go as you are available

Flying Saucer in Charlotte, NC
9605 N Tryon St Suite A, Charlotte, North Carolina 28262

Chooch and I will be hosting an informal gathering in Charlotte on Saturday, (October 11th), at The Flying Saucer. (It’s a craft brew honoring restaurant, that we’ve enjoyed with P.G. in the past.)

The official time is from 6 – 8 pm, when we are guaranteed use of the private room. If our numbers dwindle, we may move to a large table or we may be allowed to stay in the private room. They have been wonderfully accommodating and will do their best for us.

There will be self-pay dining and libation offerings in mid-price range

A brief video of memories from Chooch and I including some favorite Con(vention) Family will be available for viewing at any time. Otherwise, come as you are able as you arrive from other destinations or to spend the time together. We hope to highlight P.G., our friendship and shared world with him, in the podcasting and convention realms.

This will be a celebration of life, his life, and our con family experiences with him, but also a place for those that wish for grieving and remembrance, as well.

If you have ideas for this celebration of his life, please make pledges of time or assistance, please send to BTW@SpecFicMedia.com.

If you have pix or vid clips you love of PG, please send to BTW@SpecFicMedia.com, for possible inclusion in the video we are hoping to complete. (Time constraints.)

Also, if you are local and available to assist, please let me know at the above email to coordinate with needs for this unexpected gathering/weekend.

 

Sunday: The Memorial Service in honor of Patrick G. Holyfield

Sunday, at 12pm – Embassy Suites Banquet Room located at 4800 S. Tryon St (near Charlotte Douglas Airport–they will have shuttle service).

A special room block and rate have been reserved and is available until Oct. 5 at 4pm. Call the hotel at 704-527-8400 and use PHM as the code for the rate. 

Please forward any written sentiments, photos, audio or video you would like to make a part of my tribute to me (Kim AKA The Trustee) at kim@pghct.org.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and contributions. I truly look forward to seeing or hearing from all of you, either next week or in the future.

Kim